Hiring FAQ’s

Q: What spaces are available and what are the capacities?

  • Theatre (capacity 408)
  • Studio (capacity up to 280) depending on layout required
  • Room 1 (capacity up to 10)
  • Room 2/Theatre Bar (capacity up to 30)
  • Learning Room 2 (capacity up to 20)
  • Learning Room 3 (capacity up to 30)

The Atkinson is unavailable to hire for private celebrations including wedding receptions, birthday parties and discos.

Q: What types of layouts are there for the Studio?

Reserved full bleacher seating: Raked seating (capacity 280)

Clubstyle: Lower level unreserved tables & chairs (104) / Balcony reserved seating (capacity 124)

Q: What is the difference between Community and Commercial bookings?

The difference between Community and Commercial bookings is as follows;

Community bookings are applicable to:

  • Registered Charities
  • Public Sector Bodies
  • Sefton Community Organisations
  • Sefton Schools

Commercial bookings are applicable to:

  • Professional Theatre Companies, Booking Agents
  • Business Users; for example a business user is a limited company (not charity), a partnership, a sole trader, a franchisee or friendly society
  • Private Functions; for example a private function is an event organised by an individual or group where entry is by invitation only
  • Private Dance & Drama Schools.

Q: Does The Atkinson operate with split agreements rather than a straight hire?

No, The Atkinson operates with a straight hire for anybody wishing to hire a space. Split agreements are generally only applied to The Atkinson’s own promoted events within the professional programme.

Q: Does The Atkinson carry out marketing for Hirers events?

No, but we offer the following;

  • An event page on The Atkinson website. Hi res jpeg images,  promo video, reviews and links to external websites can be included. All to be supplied please note we have the right to amend the copy (for SEO reasons) and we also have the right to review copy and remove inappropriate content.
  • The Atkinson will share social media posts where the venue has been tagged.
  • The Atkinson will accept co-host requests for Facebook events.
  • Display of flyers and posters inside and outside The Atkinson (if supplied).
  • Sales reports on your events.

We ask that all publicity material is proofed by the Marketing Dept before going to print to ensure correct logo and information is correct. The Atkinson logo is available from the Marketing Dept email marketing@theatkinson.co.uk. All publicity material must be handed to a member of The Atkinson staff who will ensure the publicity is displayed.

We also offer additional marketing at a cost please email marketing@theatkinson.co.uk for further information.

Q: What are the hire charges?

Hire charges depend on the activity/event taking place and which space you wish to hire, email venuehire@theatkinson.co.uk with your details and a member of staff will be in touch.

Q: What is included in a performance hire charge?

Performance hire charges include the following;

  • Hire of the space
  • All front of house staff
  • Full ticketing service (online, telephone, over the counter)
  • Technical staff (1 lighting technician & 1 stage manager)
  • An event page on The Atkinson website
  • The Atkinson will share social media posts where the venue has been tagged
  • The Atkinson will accept co-host requests for Facebook events
  • Display of flyers and posters inside and outside The Atkinson (if supplied)
  • Sales reports on your events

Q: Do I receive net or gross ticket income after the hire charges are deducted?

Gross ticket income is paid to the Hirer once all hire charges are deducted; as gross ticket income is paid directly to the Hirer it is the responsibility of the Hirer to pay any VAT applicable.

A ‘Licence to Occupy’ is a standard legal agreement for a short term let. The Council has made a specific grant of a licence to occupy a space within The Atkinson to the Hirer. As part of the agreement when the ticket income is paid over to the Hirer, Output Tax will not have been accounted for by the Council. Therefore if the Hirer is VAT registered, the Hirer will be required to account for VAT on the ticket income to HMRC, on their own VAT return.

Q: Why do I need Public Liability Insurance?

The Atkinson’s Public Liability Insurance policy only covers any accidents or damage caused by us, the Hirer is required to take out Public Liability Insurance to cover all their activities/events taking place within The Atkinson. As a Hirer you are responsible for any accidents or damage to our venue, equipment and to the public caused by your staff, performers etc.

Hirers are required to send in a copy of their policy before the activity/event takes place, without this we are not able to hold the activity/event at The Atkinson.

Please note: Hirers must also ensure that they have in effect at the time of their use of The Atkinson, appropriate insurance cover for any equipment they bring on to site to use during their hire, Sefton Council will not be held responsible for any loss, theft or damage of any equipment.

Q: What is PPL/PRS?

PPL/PRS  represents members’ performing rights, whenever a piece of music is performed or played in any public space or place outside of the home. Performing rights royalties are paid to a songwriter, composer or publisher whenever their music is played or performed in any public space or place.

The Atkinson holds a PPL/PRS licence and we are obliged to make quarterly returns to the Performing Rights Society. If you have obtained a licence to perform or letter of permission we require a copy of this for our records or we will have to charge the current PPL/PRS levy applicable to your event.

For further information visit pplprs.co.uk.

Q: Is there on site parking at The Atkinson?

The Atkinson does not have a car park, however there are a number of car parks close by.

The Park and Ride facility located at the Eco Visitor Centre runs all year round. Southport is extremely coach friendly and group visitors can park coaches at the Eco Visitor Centre.

Pay & display parking is available around Southport (free after 6pm). There are car parks on Tulketh Street and London Street, as well as a number of off-road car parks.

For more detailed car parking information in Southport please visit Sefton website for car parking information.

More information here: theatkinson.co.uk/visit-us/plan-your-visit/getting-here

Q: Is there parking for loading and unloading?

Yes, there are 2 loading bays.

Theatre events the loading bay is accessible from the front of The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1DB.

Studio events the loading bay is situated in Sharrock Street, Southport, PR8 1QE (off Eastbank Street – located behind The Atkinson).

Vehicles must be moved once unloaded/loaded or you will incur a parking ticket.

Q: Is the venue fully accessible and what facilities does it have for disabled people?

Yes, The Atkinson is fully accessible.

  • The main entrance is flat, there are automatic doors and there are lifts to all floors.
  • There are accessible toilets available on all floors and the first floor accessible toilet has full adult changing facilities. This will soon be a registered Changing Places toilet.
  • An induction loop is set up on our Visitor Services counter and full infra red emitters in all our performance spaces.
  • There is a portable induction loop available for any space in the venue.
  • Assistance dogs are welcome.


  • The Atkinson does not have its own car park but due to being located in the heart of Lord Street, there is pay and display street parking that disabled drivers can use (please remember to show your blue badge).
  • There is one blue badge parking space on Market Street, next to the old Carlton Hotel and on the corner of the Vincent Hotel (approx 5 minutes from The Atkinson). There are also two spaces on Eastbank Street facing Superdrug (approx 6 minutes from The Atkinson).

More information here: theatkinson.co.uk/visit-us/plan-your-visit/accessibility

Q: Do you take commission to sell merchandise?

Yes, The Atkinson will take a 15% commission rate for any merchandise sold at the event and will provide a suitable space for this purpose. The Hirer must supply a member of their company to sell the merchandise.

The Atkinson has the right to sell The Atkinson’s merchandise for the duration of the Hirer’s events.

Q: Do you charge booking fees?

Yes, the booking fee is £1 per ticket online and telephone.

Q: Do you produce a What’s On Brochure?

Yes, inclusion of event in the brochure is subject to a fee of £50 + VAT (community rate) / £75 + VAT (commercial rate). Please note entry is a listing only (no copy or image) if submitted in time.

For more information email: hello@theatkinson.co.uk